Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Recess -- Where are your Congressmen?

It's mid-August. Do you know where your congressmen and senators are?

Congress is in recess. The Senate went into recess on August 6th and will remain in recess until September 7th. The House of Representatives went into recess even earlier, on August 4th, and will remain in recess until September 9th. That leaves just over one week in-session for both houses until Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) begins on October 1, 2012. They do so without a FY13 budget passed.

Unless they pass a budget in those 8-10 days, there will be no FY13 budget. That will mean that no budget will have been passed during the entire first (and hopefully only) Obama Administration.

Fingers may be pointed at the Republican majority in the House. However, the Democrats enjoyed a majority in both houses dating back to the Bush-43 Administration until January 2011. Since January 2011, the House of Representatives has passed several budget bills. However, the Democrat-stacked Senate has failed to do so.

Obama seems fine with not having a budget. To him, that means he is left with a general power of attorney on all of Mom and Dad's finances. It means he can take out a second and third mortgage on the house, sell the cars, max out the credit cards, and empty out all savings and retirement accounts without being accountable (or responsible) for one red cent. Mom and Dad (the US Taxpayers) will still be stuck with all of the bills (and absolute bankruptcy and resulting destitution).

And where are our elected legislators? Approximately 1/3 of the Senate is campaigning. Most of the House is campaigning. The purpose for the recess is not to campaign. It is to be in their respective states, meeting with the constituents (and meeting with the governor and state legislative houses in the cases of US Senators) to work on bringing the needs and views of the states back to the US Congress.

Most constituents are concerned with the economy. Those who own businesses want to see a more stable, predictable, and responsible federal spending program. They want reasonable regulations from executive bureaucracies. They want a better taxation system. The common member of the workforce wants fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, and the government to get out of the way of businesses that seek to grow, thus creating jobs or increasing income opportunities.

And many of the federal legislators are campaigning on those subjects.

One of my favorite Generals to quote is a man named Dick Formica. One of his best quips is "Talking ain't doing. Doing is Doing". That is what the legislators are violating. By being out campaigning, they are talking about what they promise to do.

Without a budget, a FY13 NDAA passed, and other key and long-overdue pieces of legislation still pending, they left their sessions without doing their jobs. Fingers need to be put in their chests. They need to justify what they have, in fact, done. They need to be held accountable for their voting records. Those ion the house who passed a budget did their jobs. Those in the Senate who voted against those budgets that passed the House did not. It does not matter whether Caesar Obamas would sign or veto the budget. If they passed it, then the picture would be clear on why we seem to be going with the first Presidential administration ever to not pass a single budget.

The President of the Senate is also the Vice President of the US, Joe Biden. In the Senate not passing a budget for what appears to now include four fiscal years, the weight falls fully on his shoulders. He should have told the Senate that they would not recess until one was passed for FY13.

If Ronald Reagan were in office, he would have directed G.W.H. Bush to do just that, even if it were a budget he may not like. If Reagan were in office today, he may have Art Laffer and Steve Moore look over the budget and FY13 tax proposals before signing them. But Congress would not be out campaigning and taking family trips to Disney World without a budget passed.

It's time to pull up those voting records for the last 6 years, for those state senators. It's time to pull up the past 2-4 years of voting records for those Representatives. It's time to meet them at their campaign events and ask them point-blank why they have failed to pass a budget since 2008 (for FY09). Then, it is time to ask those Senators why they are out campaigning instead of in DC and doing the jobs we hired them to do.

This is why we need a Balanced Budget Amendment that dictates that Congress pass a balanced budget annually, at least 90 days prior to the start of any fiscal year. There should be a clause in the amendment that states that legislators are docked pay if no budget is passed by that time.